- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2005

TRENTON, N.J. — Authorities charged a New Jersey woman yesterday in the slaying of her husband, whose body was hacked up, placed in three suitcases and dumped off the Virginia coast last year.

Melanie McGuire, 32, of Brick pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder at her arraignment yesterday afternoon. Bail was set at $750,000.

Authorities said they think that she shot William McGuire, 39, in the couple’s Woodbridge apartment in April 2004 and likely had help dismembering his body and transporting the suitcases to Virginia.

“There are more people involved in this matter besides Melanie McGuire,” state Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said at a press conference announcing the arrest. “She had to have help in cutting up this body and transporting three suitcases from New Jersey down to Virginia.”

Mr. Harvey said additional arrests were anticipated, but refused to elaborate.

Mrs. McGuire’s attorney, Michael Pappa, said he and his client were “shocked” by her arrest, though they had known for months she was a suspect.

Authorities had earlier declined to comment on a motive, but Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso said during the arraignment that Mrs. McGuire was having an affair at the time of the murder.

“The investigation over the past nine months has woven a very strange tale of lies, deceit, infidelity and murder,” state police Superintendent Col. Joseph R. Fuentes said earlier yesterday. He would not elaborate.

Yesterday morning, authorities searched Mrs. McGuire’s home and the home of her parents in Barnegat. No details were released on the outcome of the searches.

During the investigation, Mrs. McGuire told detectives in Virginia Beach that she and her husband had a violent argument after closing on a $500,000 home in April 2004 and that he had stormed out. His car was later found abandoned at a motel in Atlantic City.

Mrs. McGuire filed for divorce three weeks later, without ever having reported her husband missing. In the divorce papers, she accused him of slapping her and excessive gambling and drinking.

The suitcases were found around the same time near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Norfolk.

After the remains were identified, forensics experts linked black trash bags found in the McGuires’ apartment to trash bags containing the severed body parts and identified a paint chip found on one of the bags as fingernail polish, Mr. Harvey said.

Investigators also discovered that Mrs. McGuire bought the pistol used to shoot her husband from an Easton, Pa., gun shop two days before the slaying, he added.

Mr. Harvey said authorities found no evidence that Mrs. McGuire was a battered woman or that her husband had a gambling problem.

Mr. McGuire was an adjunct professor and a senior programmer analyst at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the school said. Mrs. McGuire is a nurse at Reproductive Medical Associates of New Jersey in Morristown.

“I am just so stunned,” Mr. McGuire’s sister, Nancy Taylor, said yesterday from her home in Florida. “It doesn’t bring him back, but at least justice will be served.”

Mrs. McGuire was arrested in Metuchen after dropping off the couple’s two sons, ages 4 and 5. at day care.

“All of this good investigation now gives a very loud and somewhat vengeful voice to the murder victim, William McGuire, and that’s very, very important,” Col. Fuentes said.

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